First Light Drum


34 x 34.5 x 34.7 cm

Enamelled copper wound perforated steel drum, Bakelite, steel rods, motor in Perspex cover

“In 1964, I found a dented wire wound oil filter in Monastiraki, the Athens flea market. I noticed that when I moved, sunlight reflected off the surface of the cylindrical filter in a fine line, would appear to oscillate just in the spot where the filter was dented. From this early observation, I realized that I could use reflected light to highlight changes made to a perfect geometrical form such as a cylinder. 

First Light Drum and Red Cylinder are the earliest works in my Light Cylinder series. 

Altering the surface of cylinders, which can be made of Perspex, aluminium, perforated metal or stainless steel rods, often minimally, I then coat them in a thin winding of enameled copper wire. The wire, often as thin as a human hair, acts as a reflecting surface. The cylinders are placed on turntables rotating at a constant speed. In them I use reflected light to see form unfold in a four-dimensional code. I was interested in the way a reflected line of light describes the altered surface of the cylinder and gives precise information about any changes made to its surface.” – Liliane Lijn